For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction

Before I started writing this blog post, I looked up the name of this post to make sure I didn’t write something incorrectly. As a side effect of having been in the publishing industry for many years, it can cause me to  have an eye twitch if something isn’t written properly. Mind you, I am not a professional writer, nor am I a professional editor. However, I’ve seen enough pages go to print so I do ok with correcting people on their writing skills sometimes.

I’m sure at some point in my public education career I learned about Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion, but didn’t retain a damn thing about them. As I am now 48 years old and becoming increasingly more into the metaphysical world I see that science is actually quite important. If you were one of my science teachers in high school and you’re reading this, I’m sorry. I memorized for tests and then promptly forgot everything you taught me. I think the one science class I can honestly say I learned the most from was Mr. Chris Canning who taught my Marine Biology class. I didn’t change his name because he was an amazing teacher who actually gave a crap about what he taught. Truly it was his passion… well that and the manatees, but then I’m really digressing here.

I am talking about the 3rd law for this blog post which states for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction. My childhood wasn’t completely horrible and I do have some great memories from it. I can honestly tell you that my mother did the best she could with what she had and the knowledge she was given growing up. We were always fed as children, never did we go hungry. We may have had very simple dinners, but some of those dinners are still my very favorite (macaroni, tomato sauce and polish sausage with garlic seasoning aka goulash). I think back now to how tired my mother must have been after working hard all day long as a single mother of 3 children in the 70’s and then had to come home and cook dinner. I know how hard it was for me in the 90’s as a single mom making a good salary and I did a lot of drive-thru’s which my ex-husband used regularly as a way of pointing out my shitty parenting.

My mother was often very good with making do with what we had. Her parents Damon, father, and Carmon, mother had a farm growing vegetables and raising animals which we could eat. We often worked on Grandpa Damon’s farm to help gather food so we could can it. By helping to work on the farm, Grandma Carmen would always send mom home with canned vegetables and frozen meat from whatever animal had been slaughtered for food. It wasn’t unusual to eat an animal you had fed the day before.

When I was about 7, I’d had a particularly rough week. I was struggling with my parent’s relationship and my mother had promised me she’d take me out to the park and we could have a picnic just the two of us. I was so excited to just spend time alone with her. When Saturday came and it was pouring rain, I just cried. I was absolutely broken-hearted. My mother sent the boys out to have fun with their friends. She then put out the red and white checked tablecloth on the floor in front of the television and put our picnic on the floor. She said since we couldn’t barbeque, we’d just eat cereal. We had Boo-Berry cereal in the living room. I couldn’t believe my luck. I was allowed to eat cereal in the living room and I got to spend a few very precious hours with my mother.

To this day, this very precious memory is one I cling to with all of my heart. It is this memory which reminds me my mother has true love in her heart. If she didn’t care, she wouldn’t have done something so kind. We are often bogged down by the stress of daily life that we forget to appreciate the precious things in our lives, including our family relationships. I’ve done it with my own children who will remind me of my poor parenting moments at any given time. They remind me “That’s what we’re here for Mom.” Yeah yeah…

All I can say to them now is this simple set of phrases which they will always hold dear:

I love you forever, I like for you always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.

Peace be with you

Shelley

Trauma Is Not Just Physical Pain

The definition of trauma is (1) a deeply distressing or disturbing experience or (2) physical injury. When I’ve talked to people about trauma I’ve experienced in my lifetime, they automatically assume it was all physical traumas. There was physical trauma, but what about the emotional trauma? Just because someone didn’t hit me physically doesn’t mean I didn’t experience a pain so deep in my soul it changed who I was forever.

The majority of my specific trauma all happened by the age of 15. After that, I was pretty much a self-serving bitch because I’d had enough of people thinking I was a pushover. I was no longer willing to allow my throat chakra to stay closed and swallow down anymore bullshit for anyone. I said what I wanted, how I wanted and outwardly I didn’t really care what anyone thought of me. When I was alone and quiet I would think about the pain I may have caused someone. It was in those moments I decided I was more like my favorite book/movie character, Katie Scarlett O’Hara, more affectionately known as Scarlett. I always thought to myself “After all, tomorrow is another day.” The translation to this is… I’m not going to think about that right now, which Scarlett said regularly. To her, the end goal was all that mattered and whomever she had to stomp on in the meantime was just going to have to deal.

As human beings walking around with a lot of baggage in our hearts, we often say and do things out of anger or when we are under the influence we would not normally say. In a normal, unaltered state we avoid saying and doing these same things. You know those moments when you’re out and you’ve had a drink and wind up telling the hot guy/girl you’ve been eyeing up all night that you’re attracted to them. There’s a reason alcohol is called liquid courage. It lowers our inhibitions and our guarded protection over our hearts. Feelings we have in an unaltered state we would never allow out start to flow freely. Sometimes we remember stating these feelings and sometimes we do not. Anger can cause much the same reaction. It’s like a switch was flipped and the electrical current is no longer being controlled and stuff just starts flying with no grounding to trigger it to stop. Then comes the electrical shock.

I remember this moment as if it was yesterday; I don’t think I was any more than 6 years old. My parents were getting a divorce and my world was upside down so I wasn’t sleeping well. My father had always rocked me to sleep and with that gone, my routine changed (insert a huge aha moment literally just now as I write this for why I had routine based OCD). My mother had been out for the night and I could tell by the smell alcohol was involved. I have a very sensitive nose, always have and I can pick up that smell very quickly. I remember being scared because I woke up in the middle of the night and went to crawl in bed with her, but she wasn’t there so I went back to my bed. When she did finally come home, I tossed back the covers and my little bare feet hit ground again. I walked towards her room holding my Mrs. Beasley doll (which I still have) and there stood my mom facing away from me. I asked her where she had been because I was scared. She turned around and looked at me and she said a few things but the only one I remember hearing was this “If you had never been born, your father and I would still be married.”

As a 48 year old woman who has been through a divorce, I understand why my mother felt that way. She was hurt, going through a lot and there was alcohol involved. I did ask her about this statement once when I was in my 30’s, but she has absolutely no recollection of ever saying it. I believe that. My own children tell me things I’ve said and I do not remember saying them. It doesn’t mean their feelings about it aren’t valid. That one sentence from my mother, something she doesn’t even remember, had affected me for most of my life. I truly believed I was responsible for their marriage falling apart. I was immediately and deeply saddened. I lost a piece of my soul that night.

As an adult, I can tell you having someone blame me for anything was a huge trigger for my anger to come out, especially when I knew it wasn’t my responsibility. PHEW! Boy howdy would I react violently. I’d throw cordless phones (went through 4 in one year) and I would reach into the depths of my mind to find the weakness of my accuser and I would use it against the person. If they were going to hurt me, I’d show them a thing or two. I was reacting to what was in my view, a huge injustice. In the end, I feel like what I did was worse because it was intentional. I had some serious self-forgiveness to do. I still don’t like being blamed for something which I know isn’t my fault, but I don’t get angry anymore. I’m not going to keep trying to convince someone of something I know I didn’t do. Either you believe me or you don’t. It’s that simple for me.

I step through the triggers instead of allowing them to consume me.

Peace be with you.

Shelley

Moments Which Begin to Define Us

As the child of a single mother in the 70’s, I spent a lot of time in my bedroom playing alone. During the summer months my mother couldn’t afford to pay a baby sitter, much less send us off to summer camp. My brothers were 5 and 7 years older than me so they didn’t really need a babysitter, they were the built-in babysitters. In retrospect, I am able to see that due to circumstances beyond our control they were in the position of having to care for their little sister. Teenage boys would much prefer to hang out and have fun with their friends. My brothers Constantine and Rinaldo were not any different.

Their friends who would spend a lot of time at our house while Mother was at work. Since I was the youngest and the only girl around, I was the designated sandwich maker and drink go-getter. Demanding boys! I remember how much time my brother’s had to spend with me because our Mom was working. I can’t imagine how much it bothered them to always have their little sister with them. I felt like a burden and I certainly didn’t always like getting dragged around to go visit girlfriends when we were not supposed to be leaving the house. However, Rinaldo’s theory on life was that if I did the same thing they did then I couldn’t tell Mother because I’d get in the same amount of trouble as them. I have to hand it to Rinaldo, the boy was a genius (and still is, literally. Super high IQ). I completely believed him and just went along with it.

Most of my brother’s friends were nicer to me than my brothers, but then again I wasn’t their little sister who tattled on them all of the time either. There was one boy who about a year older than Rinaldo who just scared me. Being around him was uncomfortable and I didn’t like to be left alone in a room with him. I remember him with a dark aura around him and he almost always had on a khaki military jacket. One time during the summer he was in the living room and had asked me to make him a sandwich. My brothers were not around and it was just the two of us in the living room. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. After I was done making it, I brought him the sandwich and he ran one of his hands up the back of my left leg on the bare skin. I instantly became very aware that I was a little girl and he was a male much bigger than me. I already knew what that kind of touch meant and no way did I want that happening at my own home. No 2nd grader should have to feel that uncomfortable around her brother’s friends. I ran away from him and made sure I was never in the same room with him again. Nothing else happened with him. He just stopped coming over after a while and I was very grateful. (As an aside, before I wrote this post I googled his name and discovered he’s been arrested several times for crimes against women such as battery and stalking. I was very fortunate.)

I used to have some serious issues with claustrophobia. The kind where if you got up in my face, my fight or flight instinct would take over and I’d start swinging regardless of how much I liked you. Why did I have claustrophobia you ask? Well, let me tell you! Mother was very clear “no one in, no one out.” It was a standing rule when she wasn’t home, a rule which was frequently broken by Rinaldo and Constantine. This one specific day during the summer, my brothers and their friends wanted to get high and didn’t want the pest (aka me) around to witness it. I got locked in my bedroom closet and was told I wasn’t allowed to come out until they came to get me. PS, hours later I was still in the closet. Mother came home and I heard her ask “Where is Maria?” My brother Constantine came running to my room and opened my closet door. He told me I better not say a word and pretend like everything was normal or else. So like a good little girl, I obeyed and shut up.

It’s taken me 40 years to get over being claustrophobic. It’s taken me 40 years to deal with all of the moments where I had to “be a good little girl.” Think about what you say to the younger generation. You are forming the adults they will become. I used those moments as lessons to teach me to what I didn’t want to become as an adult, but not everyone makes that decision. Many times bad behavior is repeated.

The next time you see someone with OCD or with a phobia, before you criticize them verbally or even in your own head, think twice. Ask yourself, what happened to them during their lifetime to cause the issue. It’s much better to see the issue through their eyes rather than your own.

Who are you to judge?

I am just me.

Shelley